Fans rise early to watch Martinez finish 6th at Italian competition

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Sept. 22, 2014

CARSON, Calif. – It was bright and early and the signal was choppy, but spirits were high as Michael Christian Martinez’ friends and supporters watched the long awaited return of the Ice Prince.

While live streams aren’t always reliable, Martinez did not disappoint on the ice.

Despite falling during the free skate portion, he scored 199.92, finishing sixth out of 13 at the Lombardia Trophy in Milan, Italy.

USA finished first and fourth, Japan took second, and Russia took third and fifth place.

Martinez, the only Southeast Asian, beat the rest of the senior men’s – all from Europe.

“I think he did a very good job, except our screen kept freezing so we didn’t see everything, but he did well,” said one spectator. “We’re proud of him.”

For Michael’s Zumba family, who has supported him financially for several years, it was a relief not only seeing him compete again, but a bigger relief knowing his financial problems have improved with SM giving him a P9 million pesos allowance for training.

“It’s getting better and better,” said Nonie Belarmino, a Zumba member, “And with his new coach, hopefully he’ll be able to concentrate on his practice.”

Michael’s adopted family in Carson will have more celebrations to look forward to. After next month’s Grand Prix, they will celebrate the Ice Prince’s 18th birthday in early November.

Michael’s next competition, the Grand Prix in Chicago, is expected to be easier to watch. It will take place on American time and nationally broadcasted on American television.

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